Baruch Israel and his grandmother at the Western Wall.
(photo credit: SARAH ISRAEL)
The past and present come together at Journey to Jerusalem, a new interactive tourist attraction inside the Western Wall Tunnels that retells the 2,000-year-old story of the wanderings of the Jewish people in the Diaspora and back to Jerusalem.
Using advanced technology, Journey to Jerusalem, located inside a refurbished ancient Mamluk grand hall, combines over 100 films to dramatically narrate the circuitous journey that is the Jewish experience.
The exhibit allows visitors to go back in time to their family’s region of origin and see the dramatic decisions their ancestors made during many years of exile from Israel.
According to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the project took 10 years of extensive research throughout the Diaspora and Israel to illustrate and recreate the many challenges and hardships faced by a multitude of Jews.
The exhibit includes over 250,000 scanned images and 600 scenes of animation used to prepare the intricate videos of the movements of Jews around the globe through Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Persia, Iraq, North Africa, North America, South America, India, Yemen, Ethiopia and back to Israel.
The rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Shmuel Rabinowitz, described the exhibit as a historically rich and engaging retelling of countless Jewish journeys.
“The Journey to Jerusalem reveals the deep connection between the chain of Jewish generations to Israel,” said Rabinowitz. “It was the heart’s desire and longing of past generations to return to Jerusalem and build a new Temple. Years of exile and suffering did not dim this desire.
“This site allows everyone to connect with Jerusalem and connects us to the glorious past heritage of the Jewish people as a family and as a nation,” he added.